Youth Power for the Retirement of Coal Power Plants

Jakarta, 5 June 2023 – Youth advocacy is one of the most effective ways to promote change. Moreover, the issues must be close to heart and interesting to follow to raise awareness among youth. For instance, we can connect the topic with their passion. This is carried out by the Kpop 4 Planet youth community, which strives to fight the climate crisis by connecting it with Korean pop music (K-Pop). Departing from this common goal, the Institute Essential Services Reform (IESR) invited Kpop 4 Planet to have a casual chat on Twitter Space about coal-fired power plants (CFPPs) on Monday (5/6/2023).

Nurul Sarifah, a Kpop4Planet activist and campaign coordinator in Jakarta, and her colleague in South Korea have shared the same interest that led them to create a platform for K-pop lovers who care about the environment. Nurul explained, just like other music fans, Kpop fans are also expressive in showing their passion. So, this movement is not limited to Kpop fans. She also stated that youth has to develop awareness, especially with the real climate change impacts caused by CFPPs.

“In the year I was born, the carbon dioxide count reached 368 ppm, while now it has reached 416 ppm. It is sad to imagine that for the rest of our lives we have to experience bad air quality, and it will even get worse if we continue to use new CFPPs or we never transition to renewables” explained Nurul.

In the future, Kpop4Planet hopes that one of the South Korean car brands no longer plans to build a new CFPP with 1.1 GW capacity to mine aluminum while waiting for the new hydroelectric power plant to be used in 2029. If this demand is not met, the brand is potentially greenwashing to their consumers. 

On the other hand, regarding the urgency of retiring the CFPPs, Dr. Raditya Wiranegara, IESR senior researcher, mentioned  that the global temperature increase has now reached 1.1℃ from the threshold of 1.5℃ which could be the disaster. The emission reductions of around 19-27 gigatonnes must comply with the commitment to keep the temperature below 1.5℃. This reduction can be started by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. This choice certainly has an economic impact. For example, employment and the costs required to transfer workers to new jobs will be affected. Meanwhile, the biggest challenge lies in the need for significant funding.

“The termination of CFPP operations can follow a schedule compatible with the IPCC road map. In the first stage, we need to retire 9.2 GW capacities of CFPP, followed by 21 GW of CFPP in the next period, so in 2045 we can retire 12 GW. In addition, it is also necessary to think about the generator that will replace it and the construction process so that it continues to meet energy needs. The key is in planning,” said Raditya.

At the end of the discussion, Raditya and Nurul believed in the ability of youth to change the future. Raditya emphasized the need for the younger generation to maintain enthusiasm and hone their skills to prepare themselves to welcome the clean energy era. Meanwhile, Nurul said that the younger generation could look for climate movements that suit their interests because doing what we care about and love will be a potent combo in the fight against climate change. Both hope that the government can immediately draw up a roadmap for retiring the CFPP and that youth voices will also be heard in their desire for a more livable earth.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

APLSI Declares Just Energy Transition, Supports Acceleration of Green Energy Mix

press release

Jakarta, 15 November 2022- Presidential Regulation No. 112/2022 on the Acceleration of Renewable Energy Development for Electricity Supply mandates the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) to develop a roadmap for the early retirement of the coal-fired power plants (CFPP). It is in line with Indonesia’s commitment to the Global Coal to Clean Power Transition declaration at the Conference of the Parties 26 Summit (COP26 Summit), which considers the early retirement of coal-fired power plants in the 2040s, with international funding and technical assistance, and achieving the Net Zero Emission (NZE) target by 2060 or earlier as stated by President Joko Widodo.

The Institute Essential Services Reform (IESR) views that the government’s goal needs to be supported by various parties, including Independent Power Producers (IPP), who currently operate more than 15 GW of power plants in Indonesia.

“Indonesia Independent Power Producers (APLSI) supports the Government of Indonesia’s plans and policies that encourage decarbonisation and energy transition. We are ready to transform to continue contributing to an independent, increasingly environmentally friendly and sustainable national electricity, to support the Indonesian Government’s Net Zero Emission target,” said Arthur Simatupang, Chairman of APLSI, at the declaration of the Just Energy Transition Initiative by Indonesian Power Producers organized by IESR in collaboration with APLSI in conjunction with the 2022 Indonesia G20 Summit in Bali. 

“APLSI wishes to optimize the role of the private sector as a government partner in building a reliable electricity system based on just energy transition by diversifying investment in power plants from various renewable energy sources whose potential is huge in Indonesia,” Arthur explained.

It has also been stated in the Expression of Interest between APLSI and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin Indonesia) at the Kadin Net Zero Hub event at the B20 Indonesia Summit. At that event, Arthur mentioned that his party had signed an agreement to conduct an intensive joint study on the diversification of power plant investment so that the role of the private sector would be optimal in realizing low-carbon economic growth by partnering with the government in building a reliable, independent electricity system, and a just energy transition.

Furthermore, IESR said that a just energy transition would run with the availability of space for renewable energy development, including by terminating the operational period of CFPP more quickly.

“The IESR study found that to be consistent with limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C, all CFPPs, that are not equipped with carbon capture, must be retired before 2045. In the period 2022-2030, at least 9.2 GW of power plants must be retired, of which 4.2 GW comes from private electricity, without which it will be difficult to achieve NZE,” said Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR.

On the same occasion, Rida Mulyana, Secretary General, MEMR, said the importance of partnership to decarbonise the energy system. He explained that based on Presidential Regulation 112/2022, Indonesia plans not to build new coal-fired power plants after 2030 except those that are committed or under construction.

Furthermore, Wanhar, Director of Electricity Program Development at the Directorate General of Electricity, MEMR outlined a roadmap for the early retirement of coal-fired power plants in Indonesia.

Through his presentation, Wanhar explained that the government also took various steps to achieve the NZE 2060 target, including ensuring the retirement of CFPP owned by IPP after the power purchase agreement (PPA) was ended, and Combined Cycle PP retired after the age of 30.  Furthermore, starting in 2030, there is an increasingly massive development of solar power plants, followed by wind power plants both on land and offshore starting in 2037.

However, Wanhar emphasized, several provisions need to be fulfilled in terminating the operational period of coal-fired power plants in Indonesia.

“Retirement of CFFP can only be done once grid reliability is ensured, with substitution from renewable replacement and/or transmission system installation, the assurance of just transition of a fair energy transition. There should not be any negative social impact from coal plant early retirement, affordable renewable energy generation prices, and the availability of international financing support,” Wanhar explained.

Based on IESR’s “Financing Indonesia’s Coal Phase-out” study with the Center for Global Sustainability, University of Maryland, to retire 9.2 GW of coal-fired power plants by 2030, Indonesia needs international funding support to meet the cost of retiring the power plants, around USD 4.6 billion by 2030. 

Supporting decarbonisation efforts in the power sector, the Government of Indonesia will work with the International Partners Group (IPG) to realize investment plans to support the early retirement of coal-fired power plants as well as other low-carbon technologies. The cooperation will support the achievement of Indonesia’s electricity system decarbonisation targets, including achieving peak electricity sector emissions of 290 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030, preparing CFPP projects that must be retired early, and ensuring the achievement of a renewable energy mix of at least 34% by 2030.

“For the early retirement of coal-fired power plants, especially those owned by IPPs, to take place with the principle of just energy, the government must form a national commission or task force involving relevant government agencies by the end of this year. Its tasks include comprehensively assessing the list of coal-fired power plants that have the potential to be retired immediately, as well as renegotiating with IPPs,” explained Deon Arinaldo, Energy Transformation Programme Manager, IESR.

Deon added that CFPP contract negotiations between PLN and IPP must begin by considering the potential for additional costs without jeopardizing the investment climate in Indonesia. 

“The government also needs to assess the appropriate financing mechanism to retire coal-fired power plants owned by private power producers. The financing mechanism also needs to support the link between the financing of early retirement of CFPP and investment in renewable energy so that it can mobilize international financial support,” he concluded.

The Declaration of Supporting the Roadmap of Just Energy Transition was carried out to coincide with the G20 Summit. This is expected to provide a positive signal for the Indonesian Government’s leadership at the G20, which also highlights the energy transition or the transition from polluting energy to renewable energy as one of the main issues.

“Indonesia’s leadership in conducting early retirement of power plants to accelerate the energy transition will create a good precedent for other G20 countries.  The spirit to accelerate the end of CFPP operations through the declaration of IPPs  supported by the government and PLN will be an example for India, which will hold the G20 presidency in 2023 and become an example for other ASEAN countries in Indonesia’s leadership in ASEAN in 2023,” concluded Fabby Tumiwa.***

Points of declaration:

Support the Roadmap for a Just Energy Transition in Indonesia

  1. Willing to transform to continue to contribute to an independent national electricity that is increasingly environmentally friendly and sustainable to support the net zero emission target.
  2. Support the Indonesian government’s plans and policies that encourage decarbonisation and energy transition.
  3. Diversify investment in power generation from various alternative renewable energy sources, in which Indonesia has enormous potential.
  4. Committed to opening up opportunities for renewable green energy sources and a sustainable energy supply ecosystem.
  5. Optimizing the role of the private sector as a government partner in building a reliable electricity system and a just energy transition.